II. The Progressive Knowledge of the Four Main Figures in the Bible
In the following excerpt, Witness Lee makes the point that our knowledge of the four main figures of the BibleGod, Christ, the Church, and the local churchesis a progressive matter, beginning with God and ending with the local churches.
To know God is indeed easy. I believe there has never been a person on the earth who has not known something about God. All the Jews know about God, and even the heathen know of God. All people know about God. In the classroom they say that there is no God, but in private they ask, "What about God?" In the school, they deny the existence of God, but at home they ask themselves, "Suppose there is a God, what shall I do?" When we contact the unbelievers, we should not argue with them about God. They know about God already. (21-22)
To know God is easy, but to know Christ is not so easy. All the Hebrews know about God, but not all of them know about Christ. All the Mohammedans know God, but they do not [know] Christ. To know Christ is a real improvement upon knowing God.
All human beings know about God, but only a small number know both God and Christ, because Christ is a real mystery. He is God, yet He became a man. He was God, yet He was God in man. And I do believe He was a small man while He was on this earth in the flesh. Jesus was a small man, yet that small man was God. God was embodied in Him. Isnt this wonderful? So we see that to know Christ is not as easy as to know God. But those of us who are Christians know Christ as our God. (22)
However, to go on from Christ to know the Church is even more difficult. Many Christians know Christ, but not so many know the Church. To know the Church is a greater improvement. We all need to be improved again and again. We need to know God first, we need to know Christ second, and then we must go on to know the Church. The Church is also a mystery. God is in Christ, and Christ today is in the Church. God is embodied in Christ, and Christ is realized in the Church. (22)
But this is not all. From the Church we must go on to see the churches. Comparatively speaking, it is easy to know the Church; but it is not so easy to know the churches. Some Christians know the Church, but they do not know the churches. They talk a lot about the Church, but they have not seen the churches .The Bible shows us clearly that the Church has become the local churches in many localities. Does this mean that the heavenly Church is made earthly by making it local? No; it means the heavenly Church is made locally golden. It is local, but not earthly. It is local and golden. (22-23)
Witness Lee stresses the fact that to know the Bible completely is to know not only God, Christ, and the Church, but also to know the final figure, the local churches.
In the past, some have said that they know God, they know Christ, and they know the Church. They are clear from Ephesians that the Church is the Body of Christ. But they will not agree to have the local churches. Therefore, they cut off so many epistles, especially the last book, from their Bible. Their Bible only has sixty-five books.
If we have sixty-six books in our Bible, we not only have God, Christ, and the Church, but we also have the local churches. In the Old Testament we have God. In the four Gospels we have Christ. In Acts and the epistles we have the Church and the churches. And in Revelation we have the churches, which are emphasized as being local. Therefore, to know the churches, the local churches, is the greatest improvement in knowing the four main figures revealed in the Bible. (23)
Witness Lee clearly and convincingly declares that the revelation in the Bible is indeed progressive. We must know the God unveiled in the Old Testament, the mysterious Christ displayed in the four Gospels, the universal Church revealed in the Acts and Epistles, and also the local churches emphasized in the book of Revelation. Just as the Bible includes the local churches, so our scriptural knowledge and experience must correspondingly embrace this consummate revelation for God's ultimate goal to be attained.
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